Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts in New York State’s Southern Tier
Why was a spoken word artist from grr, Baltimore presenting to children in Elmira public schools?
Why don’t we support local artists?
To be clear, I’m not saying that the artist should have been me. Nevermind that I came up slinging words in public since I was 16 in New York City, nevermind that I was there at the beginning of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, that I’ve been there done that, because while I’ve always been a poet, I’ve not claimed “spoken word” as my metier.
No, this is not about me, but about the fact that a multi-slam-winning ( National) spoken word artist is just up the road in Ithaca, and that there are a slew of folks in, yes, our own state, in the very birthplace of slam, New York City, who would love to have that connection with comparatively bucolic, though challenged, Elmira and its youth.
How was that not only was Corning bypassed, and upstate ( Rochester also has award-winning slammers, and in Buffalo, with its own renowned literary canter, even the fish fry joint plays local word slingers throwing down) but the whole state was skipped to import someone from a, o, let me put it kindly, a place of comparative unreknown?
I remember airing this complaint and being told that it was about funding. But it either aches or irks that when at last, there’s an opportunity, it goes to someone from out of town, or out of state, from far away.
Is it that presenters don’t know about the wealth of talent in the Southern Tier, in Central New York, in Western New York?
Artists of Color have made several efforts to organize and inform regional presenters of the talent available in a wide array of disciplines here at home. The hope remains to inform organizers, educators and presenters, so that they will “buy local” seek it local, and support and thereby sustain artists here.